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Vibrational Coupling to Epsilon-Near-Zero Waveguide Modes

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2020, 18:07 by Thomas G. Folland, Guanyu Lu, Autumn Bruncz, J. Ryan Nolen, Marko Tadjer, Joshua D. Caldwell
Epsilon near zero modes offer extreme field enhancement that can be utilized for developing enhanced sensing schemes. However, demonstrations of enhanced spectroscopies have largely exploited surface polaritons, mostly due to the challenges of coupling a vibrational transition to volume-confined epsilon near zero modes. Here we fabricate high aspect ratio gratings (up to 24.8 μm height with greater than 5 μm pitch) of 4H-SiC, with resonant modes that couple to transverse magnetic and transverse electric incident fields. These correspond to metal–insulator–metal waveguide modes propagating downward into the substrate. The cavity formed by the finite length of the waveguide allows for strong absorption of incident infrared light (>80%) with Q factors in excess of 90, including an epsilon near zero waveguide mode with εeff = 0.0574 + 0.008i. The localization of the electromagnetic fields within the gap between the grating teeth suggests an opportunity to realize a new platform for studying vibrational coupling in liquid environments, with potential opportunities for enhanced spectroscopies. We show that these modes are supported in anhydrous and aqueous environments and that high aspect ratio gratings coherently couple to the vibrational transition in the surrounding liquid.